SEO is one of the things that you never hear about but you see it everywhere. It seems like everyone expects their website to just magically appear on Google without putting forth the effort to actually make that happen. Those who know that they need SEO don’t know what it’s called or how to actually execute a proper plan. However, the lucky few that know they need SEO and know how to work with it seem to be the successful ones online.
Quite recently, though mostly by standard social bookmarking sites, a Google search for "Miserable Failure" would lead to George Bush's as a first result. This was an orchestrated campaign that worked by having many people link to George Bush's website with the link text "Miserable Failure." This is nothing else other than what proper implementation of SEO can do to even the smallest of stories (though the Bush's story may not that small :) ).
Even to small businesses in the offline world search engine optimization is important and this is because it can help expose people to your brand and your business in a way that would never have been possible before. If you are a hot dog provider and the majority of your business is done over the counter, then you are limiting yourself to a very specific geographical customer base. If you go online however, people from all over the world can be exposed to your brand and that is ultimately going to be a lot better as far as your bottom line is concerned.